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Free spirit
Saturday 3rd September 2011, End of the Road, North Dorset.
Lilly arrived at the festival with her one year old, Elliot, but without a ticket or place to stay. She knew the festival had sold out but that didn't dissuade her from making the four hour trip and her optimism paid off when an old friend from one of the bands managed to wangle her a ticket.
Lilly hadn't worked for years and had very little money. She comes from a family of druids and was brought up in the alternative travelling community. I thought she would make an interesting participant, not just because of her background and financial situation, but because of her energy and willingness to embrace every situation. We sat on a log with a bottle of vodka and I gave her £1000, but her reaction came as a bit of shock; she showed very little enthusiasms or gratitude. It was the first time my proposition had been met with real indifference and I felt upset and slightly confused. What a waste of money! I regretted giving it to her and went off to finish the vodka.
The next morning, as the hangover wore off, I started to change my mind. Why should I expect a specific reaction? The whole idea of Wearelucky is about passing on responsibility to other people. Perhaps I was still trying to exert too much control? In a strange way I ended up feeling even more excited about the project. Wearelucky really started right there.
Questions & Answers
1. What have you decided to do with the money?
I want to do as much as I can. I am helping my Mum get her house properly insulated, investing in a clothing label I am setting up with a friend and I might also take an intensive course to train as a doula. A doula is someone who provides non medical support to women and their families throughout the birthing experience.
2. Has it changed the way you think about giving?
Yes. I like the idea of challenging the taboos surrounding other people's money. Giving should be a pure, honest act with no ulterior motive, but receiving causes complex emotions. I have become less obsessed with material gain in the past three or four years and only see value in investing for a greater good, not just a quick fix. I like the intimate nature of this project. There's something cynical about big charities going after money in the same aggressive way as banks and corporations do.
3. How did the people close to you react when you told them about taking part in Wearelucky?
Those close to me were mainly suspicious. I felt as though I was instantly judged and so I've decided not to tell anyone else.